If you are a Mac user you can get 11 great software packages for only $49. I am always a little wary of these bundles, since the software creators miss out on some sales at full price, but they probably make up for it in volume. Either way, I am getting it for 1password and iStopMotion (for VSTV of course) but all of the software is great. If they sell enough to include SnapZ Pro and Pixelmator it will make it doubly worth it. I have been using PixelMator instead of PhotoShop on PC for at least 2 months now.
We had a great interview with Chris Hanson of 3D Nature this week, but we aren’t going to post it until after all of the holiday travel and our year in review episode. In the interview Chris pointed out the great sale they are running on the GIS friendly Visual Nature Studio 2. I have been using their World Construction Set, and more recently VNS, since the late 1990s and am a huge fan. I actually received my first literal ooh and ahhs during a presentation where I was showing some reconstructions of prehistoric landscapes made with WCS. Anyway…great software at a great price for the holidays.
Our good buddy Rick Lawson over at ESRI sent us all a lovely little YouTube video/song – G-I-Yes. The folks down in Austin put this together for GIS Day it it is darn amusing. At our day job, we’ve had a server going wonky for the last few weeks, so I found the middle part particularly pertinent. Thanks Rick!
For those of you not subscribed to the V1 Magazine Newsletter, Jeff and Matt give their take on a topic we have often talked about, gaming technologies in the realm of geospatial. Check it out and let us know what you think about the subject.
Some of you may recall me blogging about Magrathea over the summer, a nice little georeferencing tool for your desktop documents on Mac which used actual Lat/Long as opposed to image coordinates. Apparently over the summer the software was picked up by app4mac and has been renamed RapidoMap. It remains freeware and but other than a few interface changes and being able to switch between aerial and street backdrops, the software remains pretty much the same. It still offers Flickr uploads for your referenced photos and allows you to search your desktop files by location, which can actually be useful if you travel a lot and your looking for a picture taken at a certain location. All-in-all I still recommend that folks check out this handy little app on the mac.
Ed mentioned Pixelmator a while back as a great new Mac-only image editor. It offers most of the tools that the normal Photoshop user uses.
But the impressive thing isn’t Pixelmator itself, it’s the fact that it is built using technology that is built into the OS, Core Image, so that many of the tools in the software are simple adds from the MacOS X Developers Tools. In addition to Core Image and Core Animation and Core Audio, all of which get a boost in a week when 10.5 is released. With these tools built in to Mac OS X, which makes developers lives easier, how long will we have to wait for Core Location services. Open Source is great, but what happens when geocoding, routing, projection and other common GIS functions are made available as prebuilt libraries directly in the OS. More geospatial tools and innovation that’s what…so write your local linux programmer, send Steve Jobs a happy thought, or just get Microsoft to incorporate MapPoint and VE technologies into a version of Windows that doesn’t frighten everyone and wait for the location based fun to begin.
OK, first off, I am not a fan of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, but they have a cool online game as a companion piece that combines virtual online gaming with real-world, real-time data. In Sharkrunners, you are a marine biologists, and your goal is to track down sharks and collect data about them. Based on the data you collect, you can earn more “funding,” which will of course allow you to get more equipment and get better data.
I only had a few minutes to play around with the game, but it’s a pretty neat way to illustrate how real and virtual data can be combined into a game application, where you can see just how much fun science can be!
Apparently Autodesk pushed out an update to Maya PLE for the Mac this weekend which made me think we haven’t really talked too much about how we can make 3D Models for our GIS as we begin moving more closely to a 3D GIS. We tend to use Sketch-Up quite a bit since it is great for making structures and has an amazingly quick learning curve. 3DS Max is probably still the package of choice for many since it is so robust and has a significant install base since it was culled from Autodesk’s early 3D products. Lightwave is a product I have never had a chance to use unfortunately and I have only spent about an hour with an older version of Blender (but it is OpenSource/free so check it out). That brings me to the last major player in my eyes which is Maya. The best thing about Maya is that even after it was bought by Autodesk a couple of years ago, they still offer up a free Personal Learning Edition which is great to use to learn how to create 3D models with a plethora of training modules and loads of examples online. I definitely recommend spending a little bit of time in a 3D modeling environment just so you know what goes into building models whether you have a license for a package or if you use the free versions of Google SketchUp, Blender, or Maya PLE. Watching someone else do it makes it look amazingly simple…it isn’t. Not to discriminate, if you are looking to create photo realistic 3D landscapes, skip any of the above mentioned (unless you want a car or house in your landscape) and find products like VNS or WCS from 3D Nature.
We have mentioned MapMemo before, but I thought it was missing that little something (geographic coordinates). Caffeinated Cocoa has rolled out a great little desktop app for the Mac called Magrathea that uses web services to pull in Yahoo! Map data and geocoding services to allow to geotag desktop data, web information, and the ability to geotag and upload photos to Flickr. So as with its name sake you can make your own world with this fancy little app.